Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting (AFP Photo)

Australia assistant coach Ricky Ponting is looking forward to the return of banned duo of Steven Smith and David Warner to international cricket.

The duo is currently serving a 12-month ban for their role in Newlands ball-tampering scandal last year which expires on March 29.

Australia has undergone tremendous change on and off-field since the incident which has also coincided with their dip in form. However, they are expecting that the return of their two premier batsmen in Smith and Warner will result in them returning to winning ways, making them a solid contender at the ICC World Cup 2019 of which they are the defending champions.

“I’ve spoken to both of them quite a bit during their suspensions,” Ponting told Triple M’s Rush Hour. “Over the last couple of weeks they’ve both had quite similar elbow surgeries that’s sort of going to hold them back a bit. Steve’s ended up being a little bit worse than Davey’s was.”

Both Smith and Warner underwent elbow surgeries but earlier this year are expected to be fit in time for the World Cup in England that starts from May 30.

Ponting said the only question remains whether the duo should return directly to the national team or not. Whatever route they take, the pair is intrinsic to Australia’s chances at the quadrennial event.

“I said the other day I’m looking forward to having those guys back in the side. There’s still got to be a decision made as to whether they go straight back into the team or not. Reading the tea leaves, not only do we need those level of players back in our side, but the experience as well in our one day side and Test team,” Ponting, who was recently added to the coaching staff for the World Cup title defence, said.